Saturday, November 10, 2012

Good Things In England, by Florence White, A Persephone Book

The Tradition of the British Savoury Pie.

This is the deli Black Olive in Southwold, a traditional English seaside town on the Suffolk coast.  The reason I wanted to feature this was to show some of the wonderful Savoury Pies that have a long British history.  I'm sure they're very popular at the seaside, to pick up a pie, with some tomatoes and salad, there you have a take out al fresco picnic.

To the left are traditional Norfolk Pork Pies and to the top right are goats cheese and onion quiches.

Some not so traditional pies here are Thai Chook Pie, but they incorporate the traditional pie making skills with an Asian influence.  There are also Moo Pies and Wild Mushroom and Asparagus.

Meat pie and mushy peas is traditional grub fare.

When I was at Persephone books in London I bought one book and it was Good Things In England, by Florence White.

Originally published in 1932 it says:

A Practical Cookery Book For Everyday Use

Containing Traditional and
Regional Recipes suited to
Modern Tastes contributed by
English Men and Women between
1399 and 1932 and edited by
Florence White

I think Americans would like this book as it has all USA measurements and makes some wonderful 1932 comparisons of cooking culture.  For instance she says:

In a new and vast country far from Europe they have been able to preserve the integrity of their own kitchen far better than we have, and to develop it on individual lines.  If we want to learn to improve our own cookery - and we should want to do this - it is to American we should turn, not to France.

She also writes:
We can learn from the Commonwealth countries.  They have the same advantage as America of developing the cookery of the Homeland in a new setting.

Florence White says a whole book should be written on The Pies of Old England.  To be sure though the heritage of the local savoury pie has a long history in the UK.  I will share one recipe with you from Bungay, Suffolk; which seems appropriate:

Shrimp Pie
Bungay, Suffolk 1823

  1. Pick a quart of shrimps
  2. If they be very salt, season them only with mace or a clove or two.
  3. Bone and mince two or three anchovies, mix them with the spice and season the shrimps.
  4. Put some butter at the bottom of a shallow pie dish, (A modern fire-proof glass pie-plate is just the thing,)
  5. Put in the shrimps and pour over them some more butter and a glass of sharp white wine.
  6. Cover with a very thin delicate piecrust and bake until this is cooked.  It won't take long.
Doesn't that sound delicious and really not that complicated, I might keep this recipe in mind.



  1. Yes, you can't beat a good old fashioned British pie! Unfortunately in this sedentary life we lead now, we are always worrying about our weight and cholestrol so pies are a special treat.

  2. Hi Florence - Actually, this isn't the butchers in Southwold - it is the Deli, called The Black Olive.

    1. Thank you for letting me know. Now that I look at the window on the photo it does say Black. I will change this.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.


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